Will Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Continue to Rule the weekend or will the Devil Inside come out and win? Updated Picks:

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My predictions for the weekend don’t bode well for the end result of the only film opening Friday, “Devil Inside.” Granted it is the only thing opening this weekend, but the advance reports I’ve had of the film and the overall tone of it on Twitter suggest that it may do well out of the box on Friday, but crash horribly on Saturday. (Update, early reports show a huge take for the film Friday but Twitter buzz according to http://www.tweetfeel.com/#devil_inside is over 65% negative and climbing with most folks saying “don’t waste your money.”)

Devil Inside may fit the pattern developed of late of a high success low budget scary trill ride, but information travels so fast these days, passing off a horrible film that meets the genre expectations doesn’t fly as far as it used to. There was a day, not that long ago, such that it might take a week or two for word to get around that a particular film didn’t meet expectations, but today audiences can get ambient awareness minutes after the credits roll (and in some cases make that OPENING credits.)

Overall sentiment on Twitter has had some high expectations for Devil Inside, if only because of the popularity of other films like “Paranormal Activity” in the post holiday doldrums. In making my predictions for Devil Inside for its opening weeked, I looked at returns for The Unborn and guessed that the lack of recognizable cast might make for lower ticket sales than even that film, so I was very conservative in my estimate for the film’s weekend take. My guess was that, even with a big Friday, the drop on Saturday would be huge and therefore make for a number that was not sufficient to dislodge the current front runners from the top.

In terms of those front runners, I looked at some of their lower performing days during the holiday and assumed a substantial drop due to the sheer volume of folks who had been able to see the films already. 

For my pick to be at number one for the weekend (again) specifically, Mission Impossible, I took an example day that was mostly slow compared to the rest of the days ($2557) and accounted for the slight bump in screens and multiplied everything out. Even their slow days during the Holidays were big, however, which may make for an inflated estimate. (Update: Based on Friday’s take this looks to be the case across the board. Though volume is shown to be up for the weekend in general, Devil Inside was able to command a larger share of the overall volume on Friday than initially anticipated, but again, the guess is that the hold will not last and Saturday will prove to shift more returns into the totals of the previous weeks’ frontrunners instead.)

For number two on my predicted list, Sherlock Holmes, my assuption was that there might have been a few more folks left yet to see it based on returns from the original in the series (this film is underperforming compared to the first one and the assumption is that at some point those who saw the first will see the second as well.) For those reasons and due to the large volume of theatres still playing it over the weekend, I picked for it to maintin 2nd place.

In third place for the weekend, I picked a bit of a dark horse (or rather War Horse.) This film might play to a generally older demographic, but that demographic’s free time and discretionary income is less variable – not to mention the increase of screens for this weekend. 

The bump in theatres for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, however, was even more dramatic, which made it difficult not to try and treat it as though it were opening this weekend as well. Between that and We Bought a Zoo, there were some real wild card possibilites for the weekend. Tinker’s extreme bump in screens and the release of the soundtrack for We Bought a Zoo (back by Damon’s Star power with Cameron Crowe at the helm) will prove to be bigger draws in the coming weeks.

As fast as news travels on Twitter these days, negative sentiment travels generally faster than positive, in particular in regards to getting action to be taken. All one needs to do to take action on a negative review is simple NOT act – not see a film. To take action on positive reviews requires more logistical positioning – “Sure, I’ll see the film now, but WHEN?”

At the bottom of my prediction list is another creeper, Chipwrecked, the new Alvin and the Chipmonks romp. My basis for putting it where I did in terms of performance was simple and not based on the performance of comperable films. I chose it based on the fact that many schools are still out for the holidays and films continue to be a popular babysitting service.  

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also flounders in my predictions. Despite Daniel Craig, David Fincher, and Trent Reznor to lift the Americanized version of the book series’ opener, performance has been lack-luster to say the least, and yet as word gets out about how horrible Devil Inside is, we might see a slight portion of that traffic shift into Dragon on Saturday and Sunday.

Those are my picks for the weekend – what did you have the chance to see? 

My top picks for the highest grossing films predicted for this upcoming weekend: 

(# of theatres x ave take last week per theatre x 2 days)

2 3 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Paramount 3,555 +100 +2.9% 4
3555 x 2557 x 2 = 18,180,270

1 2 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Warner Bros. 3,603 -100 -2.7% 4
3603 x 1729 x 2 = 12,459,174
 

7 7 War Horse Buena Vista 2,783 +236 +9.3% 3

2783 x  2209 x 2 = 12,295,294

 

15 38 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Focus Features 809 +752 +1,319.3% 5

809 x 6079 x 2 = 9,835,822

4 4 We Bought a Zoo Fox 3,170 +7 +0.2% 3
3170  x 1423 x 2 = 9,021,820

 

6 6 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Sony / Columbia 2,950 +36 +1.2% 3

2950 x 1457 x 2 =  8,596,300

3 1 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Fox 3,425 -299 -8.0% 4

3425 x 1229 x 2 = 8,418,650  

The Devil Inside @ 2285 screens with ave take of 1500 (The Unborn took 1610 on Sun and had Gary Oldman w/Bay at helm – this has nobody) per x2 = 6,855,000
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